Proposed Third Circuit Court of Appeals Disciplinary Rules

The Third Circuit has proposed a set of Rules of Attorney Discipline Enforcement for public comment.  The text of the proposed rules can be found here.  In summary, the proposal provides for discipline for attorneys who are convicted of “a serious crime” in or subjected to discipline by another court, or whose conduct with respect to the Third Circuit violates the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the court’s Internal Operating Procedures, or orders or instructions of the Court or the rules of conduct of any other court, or for “any other conduct unbecoming a member of the bar of this Court.”  A range of disciplinary sanctions is available, from reprimand to disbarment.  Sanctions under 28 U.S.C. §1927 or Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 38 are not covered by these proposed rules unless notice to the contrary is given.  An extensive set of procedural rules for the disciplinary process represents the bulk of the proposal.

The proposed rules also create two new types of status:  “disability inactive status” and “inactive status.”  The former is intended for “an attorney whose mental or physical condition prevents the attorney from competently representing the interest of the attorney’s clients.”  Disability inactive status is automatic in certain circumstances, such as when an attorney is involuntarily committed or is declared incompetent in a judicial proceeding.  The Third Circuit may on its own institute proceedings to place an attorney on disability inactive status as well.

Inactive status attaches if an attorney has not entered an appearance in the Third Circuit for five years, has asked the Clerk to designate him or her as inactive, or has notified the Clerk of his or her wish to retire from the Third Circuit Bar.  An attorney may avoid inactive status by filing, before the end of the five-year period, a form accompanied by a statement that he or she wishes to remain active.  There is no fee for doing this.  If these proposed rules are adopted, attorneys who practice in the Third Circuit only intermittently will need to monitor the time that has elapsed since their last appearance if they wish to remain active members of the Third Circuit Bar.

Any comments on the proposed rules are due by March 9, 2015.

2 Responses to “Proposed Third Circuit Court of Appeals Disciplinary Rules”

  1. […] discussed here, the Third Circuit previously published proposed disciplinary rules for comment.  Having received […]

  2. Sheela says:

    How is the client supposed to know the mental and physical impairment of his Attorney?
    Who and where is the client contact or go to after losing his case and later finding out thAt the lawyer was ill and died !! ( After the client lost the case)
    Furthermore. , who checks on the mental capacity of the judge who ultimately rules?
    After the ruling the client who lost finds out the judge took early retirement because of disability?
    Also. When an attorney seeks permission to postpone a hearing due to ill health , the judge is supposed and should be required to postpone the same and not insist on having an ill attorney present his cAse
    This is not good public policy and certainly requires close scrutiny
    There have been several bad rulings just because of this

    The health ( physical ) and mental of a physician , a pilot , a train driver etc including lawyers and judges who are answerable by virtue of their actions to the society are required or should be required to divulge their mental and physical status every month to a an entity designed by the division of consumer affairs for the protection of the consumers’ legal defense ( in this instance as this is a legal blog )

  3. Sheela says:

    Any attorney or judge who does not divulge the same should be disciplined

    Also. , persistent bullying and harassment by judges and attorneys In order to win their cases by complaints made against the party – to gain an unfair advantage over the party should be grounds for discipline

    The general public is at the mercy of the legal profession solely because of the intimidatory and predatory tactics followed by some attorneys
    Even the complaints against these attorneys are thrown away as it is the ” fox gaurding the chicken ” story !!

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